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She wanted a little room for thinking:
but she saw diapers steaming on the line,
a doll slumped behind the door.
So she lugged a chair behind the garage
to sit out the children’s naps.
Sometimes there were things to watch-
the pinched armor of a vanished cricket,
a floating maple leaf. Other days
she starred until she was assured
when she closed her eyes
she’d see only her own vivid blood.
She had a hour at best before Liza appeared
pouting from the top of the stairs.
And just what was mother doing
out back with the field mice? Why,
building a palace.
I was four in this photograph fishing with my grandparents at a lake in Michigan.
My brother squats in poison ivy.
His Davy Crockett cap sits squared on his head so the raccoon tail flounces down the back of his sailor suit.
My grandfather sits to the far right in a folding chair,
and I know his left hand is on the tobacco in his pants pocket because I used to wrap it for him every Christmas.